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September 11, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

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September 11, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

In today's difficult economy it is imperative to seek out organizations that provide the best return for one's limited charitable donations. I look for the "integrity factor" that must govern a not for profit organization. I have seen and indeed, contributed to organizations that provide wonderful services, but do so with a qualified staff, but an expensive infrastructure. These are good and well intentioned, but are not as effective as they could be.

I discovered on a trip to Uganda, a group of dedicated individuals who sought a worthwhile endeauver and the proceeded to do somehing about it. They found a way to provide direct aid to those who needed it most. They did this by first making an analysis of the most severe problems, finding a solution to the problems and then worked to find a way to impliment the solution.

The main problems involved were lack of water, medical facilities, educational and financial training. This would be a venture to give aid to a society that has been denied basic needs of life, not hrough the fault of individuals, but due to poor government, limited resources.

Jean Semler and Dave Thalen worked to provide solutions to these problems by founding "Change A Life Uganda" or (CALU). Using their own funds, they promoted "charitable giving groups" among their friends, schools, church groups, community organizationsand any and all who would listen to their pleas. When you discover that every cent raised is used to provide solutions to the problems facing people in need, how can you refuse to help?

The reward you receive is to see pictures of schools being built, orphanages being construdted, small business program "start-ups" with sewing machines, or chicken or pig farm initiatives. For a special treat see a huge well with a pumping station that will provide water for an entire school and dormitory. Dreams have become a reality...all with every dollare donated going to fulfilling God's wishes.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Donate more

More feedback...

Was your donation impactful?

Likely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

September 8, 2013
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September 8, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

Last summer I traveled to Uganda with the ChangeALife Uganda team. While there we dedicated a new health clinic that we were able to complete construction on, equip and staff. At the ceremony many important locals spoke about the value of the clinic. Finally, the last person to speak was a man from the village, representing the people who would benefit from the clinic. On a hot equatorial afternoon, dressed in a suit, white shirt and tie, he took the microphone. He said the people of Migyera were grateful to have the clinic so desperately need by the families there. Then he said: "We don't know why some people in a place called New Jersey would do this for us. Please tell them thank you."
For what was really not much money by U.S. standards, we were able to make a major difference in the lives of the happy, beautiful people in Migyera. That's what ChangeALife Uganda does: focused, meaningful help to those who need it. I'm hooked!

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

The only change I'd make is to welcome new people to join us in empowering the Ugandan people to improve their circumstances though the educational, health and micro-finance projects we offer to them.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

September 8, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

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September 8, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

I have been a part of Change A Life Uganda since it's inception. I have watched it flourish and expand under the direction and dedication of Jean Semler and Dave Thelan. The original concept was to support the education 10 Ugandan children. Now CALU has 300 children enrolled in school based programs from primary level all the way to university! AND...there are additional programs for the families so that they too can see life changes. Income generating and health care initiatives for the families is growing every day! And the water project is almost completed! What a feat!
To see pictures in the newsletters or on the website are one thing , but to see the smiling faces of the people who have been touched by CALU is another! I was there in 2010 to witness this change! I was able to see the programs in action and to share the enthusiasm of Jean and Dave.
If you wish to make a difference in someone's life I urge you to join CALU and be part of this amazing organization!

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

September 5, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

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September 5, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

This Summer I visited Uganda with CALU to teach Chess to the students there. I made great friends who welcomed me into their hearts in Uganda. Even though I was there to teach them, they taught me so much I will never forget them. I miss them so much already. I loved interacting with all the girls and experiencing what it is like to live in Uganda. Washing your own clothes, going to the bathroom, eating different foods. I stayed in the dorms with them a few nights. i also attended one of their study classes where they did math and I helped them solve the math puzzle. They said that I was very smart. It was an interesting and extravagant experience. I wish I could go back sooner to see them all again. They were very sad when I said I was leaving. My best friend was Gorette and I miss her so much that it is painful.... My favorite part of the trip was getting to change children's lives by teaching them chess and making new friends. I learned so much from this experience and was lucky enough to go with such a wonderful team, which made my trip the best they could.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

help them visit Uganda more often.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

September 5, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

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September 5, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

I visited Uganda this year with Change A Life Uganda to help teach Chess to the students at the St. Lawrence Primary School in a village called Migeera. It was a great experience as my sister Judy and I not only taught Chess at the St. Lawrence School, but we were able to teach students from St. Joseph's Primary School in Nabbingo and a group of high school age students joined us at St. Lawrence's for some lessons as well. It was GREAT!! The students and teachers were very nice and I was able to make a lot of new friends during my time in Uganda. We also saw a lot of people who still need help, and I hope people will help them. Please help Change A Life Uganda in their efforts to help the Children of Uganda make a better life for themselves.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Help them raise more money.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

September 5, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

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September 5, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

Change a Life Uganda is an outstanding organization that I whole heartedly support and endorse. I became aware of of CALU in late 2011, and began volunteering with in early 2012. They are doing Tremendous work in an area of the world that badly needs all the help that can be provided. My family sponsors a child at the St. Lawrence Primary School and has recently been updated on her progress via letter and e-mail. It is GREAT feeling to know that you can help so much by giving so little. Thanks to Change A Life Uganda my family and I have been able to help those less fortunate get a step up out of poverty. Please support this wonderful organization!!

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Get them more Help, because the problems they face are so BIG!!

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

September 4, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

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September 4, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

I became involved in Change a Life Uganda in 2008 when I accompanied Jean & Dave to Uganda along with my daughter and several others. I learned first-hand what living in a third world country was really like. I got to meet both children whom I sponsored -- a girl who was orphaned as a result of AIDS and a boy who was from a single parent home. What this organization has accomplished in the few short years of its existence is phenomenal. All people involved in Change a Life Uganda deserve kudos for their tireless efforts on behalf of the clients they serve.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

try to get more assistance in the management of the organization. All are volunteers, and this is a very time consuming effort.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Likely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Likely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

September 4, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

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September 4, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

I support ChangeALife Uganda because of the quality and integrity of the people involved and the intensity of their belief in the cause of the organization. Their hands-on approach means there are no "middlemen" interpreting intentions or diverting needed funds. ChangeALife Uganda has made incredible progress in a short period of time, and is poised for even more. These changes include bringing better education to hundreds of children who otherwise would not receive it, providing microfinance opportunities at below-market interest rates to reach those who could not afford a standard bank loan, and providing healthcare where it once was, for all purposes, non-existent. Best of all, these are not "one-shot" efforts, ChangeALife is focused on long-term change and the sustainability of that change. Working with ChangeALife has been an exciting and rewarding experience.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Enhance its social media capabilities.

More feedback...

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

August 28, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

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August 28, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

Jean and I went to Uganda to see how we could help as part of another organization. we came back with a mission. When we looked at the model that existed we realized that the model would work in only a limited way and would not lead to self sustanability. the model Father Lawrence designed with the input of our Ugandan staff is sustainable and the changes we seen can be dupicated. Education is the starting point which porvided us to change our lives. I am so excited to see the children and their families progress each year. Our most important challenge is to get the water project done so that santation and health can be achieved. With the help of so many caring folks and the local know how we should see that dream come true. this organization grows presents a personal model that works. What a gift to those working for it the sponors and those getting a chance to suceed through the generous support of our donors

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Bring more volunteers on board to help in the USA there are many helping in Uganda

More feedback...

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

August 28, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

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August 28, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

CALU has been a part of our lives at The Rumson Country Day School for over 5 years and I have patiently waited for my opportunity to go to Uganda and make a personal connection with the people with whom we are working. I could not have imagined how deeply this experience would affect me. The faces of " my children" resonate every moment of the day and I am always thinking of ways that I can help them to reach their potential. My days "in country" were life- changing and I find myself bombarding anyone who will listen with stories and observations about our experience. I am profoundly moved by the grace with which the Ugandans face their lives; embracing their significant challenges with a dignity that is seemingly impossible. Our school and our clinic in Migyera bring opportunity to the community and the completion of the water project will improve the quality of their lives beyond measure. For many years, I have worked in the field of human rights, but my experiences in Uganda provided a clear and powerful understanding of the human crises that exist in our world. I now look at my world in NJ with a new clarity and appreciation for all that we have and I plan to work with a determination to make the world a better place for our friends in Uganda.

Jane Robins Denny
Director of Community Service
The Rumson Country Day School

Director of Education
Chhange
Center for Holocaust, Human Rights and Genocide Education
At Brookdale Community College

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Add more Funding and Manpower to this wonderful Organization.

More feedback...

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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